Yes, after six months down the road, it’s time to gear up for the newly born Ubuntu baby again. This time, Ubuntu 9.10, codenamed Karmic Koala, will be officially released on 29th Oct 2009. We, at MakeTechEasier have not been slacking around. With the release of the 9.10 beta, we have grabbed the LiveCD image, wipe our machines clean and installed the full version onto it. Now, let us present you the screenshots tour (and new features) review of Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 beta.
New boot screen
The first thing that you will notice is the new splash screen. Unlike all previous splash screens that are in black, it comes with a brown gradient and white font color. It definitely looks much polished and refined than all all its previous reincarnations.
New login screen
No fancy stuff here. The login architecture was rewritten to provide a better integration with the system. Despite the simple design, one good thing here is that you don’t to type in your username anymore. Simply click on the respective user entry and type in the password.
The default wallpaper is a plain mix of brown and orange color. Nothing fanciful here, but I do feel that it looks much more livelier than its previous iteration.
The best part is at the backend (Preferences -> Appearance) where you can choose from a great selection of newly added wallpapers.
One interesting wallpaper is the Cosmos, that is in fact a series of wallpapers packed into one. Once set, it will automatically change itself every 30 minutes, so you won’t be bored with the same old wallpaper.
There is even a link that brings you to the Gnome art to download more wallpapers.
For those who can’t wait for the release, you can also grab the wallpaper here (5.2MB).
New icon themes
A new icon theme – humanity was introduced in Karmic beta.
Existing user who wanted to install this icon theme can do so via the command:
sudo apt-get install humanity-icon-theme
Addition in the System tray
Long time Ubuntu users will notice the new addition in the System tray. The envelope icon now allows you to access your Empathy and all IM chat in real time. It also acts as a non-obstructive notification center for new incoming mails.
On your Profile button where you click to shut down your computer, you can also use it to update your IM status now.
New software – Ubuntu Software Center
There have been a lot of hearsay about the launching of the iPhone style AppStore for Ubuntu. Now, it is finally here – Ubuntu Software Center.
The Software Center is not a replacement of the Add/Remove app and Synaptic Package Manger as both of them are still available in Ubuntu Karmic. It is more of an alternative (a much better one) to those who wanted to install applications the easy way. In my opinion, this is by far the easiest and most informative way to source for a free software and get it running in your system.
When you open the Software Center, you don’t see all the apps. Instead, you will find various categories that the apps are grouped into.
Clicking on any of the category will display a list of apps in that category.
Once you found the app that you are interested in, click on it to go to the info page. Here is where you can find the description of the app and its screenshot. At the bottom is the Install button where you can click and get it install on your system.
Does this make you think of iPhone AppStore?
For those who are crazy about Pidgin, you are going to be disappointed here. Pidgin will no longer be included in Ubuntu Karmic. Instead, it was replaced by Empathy.
Like Pidgin, Empathy supports various network protocols and allows you to login to various IM networks with one interface. Empathy supports text, voice, video, and file transfers over many different protocols, so you can transfer files over XMPP and local networks and also place voice/video call using SIP, XMPP, Google Talk and MSN.
The GUI is similar to Pidgin, so there is little to get used to.
We have previously discussed Ubuntu One and how it could possibly become a dominant force in the online storage arena. In Ubuntu Karmic, Ubuntu One is well-integrated into the system so you can skip the installation and use it straight away.
Signing up is almost instant and the Nautilus integration means you can easily access your files/folders from your Nautilus.
Enough about the front end, let take a look at the backend.
New bootloader – GRUB 2
You probably won’t notice this at all, but the software that is used to boot up the OS has been upgraded to version 2. This means better scripting support, command-line rescue mode, graphical boot as well as boot from ISO files.
GRUB 2 will only be installed for new installation. Existing users who upgrade their system via the Update Manager will continue to use the legacy GRUB bootloader.
Default Ext4 Filesystem
Ext4 filesystem was introduced in Jaunty. In Karmic, it has graduated to become the default filesystem. Like the GRUB 2 bootloader, the ext4 filsystem will only be applied for new installation. Existing users who are still on Ext3 will remain as Ext3 unless you choose to upgrade to Ext 4 manually.
That’s about all to the new features in Ubuntu Karmic beta. The official release will be on 29th Oct 2009. Are you looking forward to it?